A Nicosia dentist could be the first Cypriot who successfully managed to remove her religious preferences from state records, saying fellow citizens who wish to do the same will now find it easier.
Elena Milioti, a Nicosia dentist and private citizen, recently made an attempt to have the state remove any religious references from her state records, citing privacy issues.
State employees at the Nicosia District Administration initially refused to handle her request, telling her she would need to ask the Church to excommunicate her before any changes could be made.
Excommunications are very rare as the Holy Synod only takes on serious cases that are deemed offensive to the doctrine.
But church officials told Milioti they had no authority over her state records.
She then wrote a letter to the administration, citing Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data.
They asked her to swear on the Bible
Milioti later spoke with another senior civil servant, who told her they would process her request as long as she submitted an affidavit, which can be used as evidence in court.
But state officials asked her to swear on the Bible in order to process her affidavit.
'Submitting an oath goes against the very basis of my initial request and violates my personal beliefs'
She refused, later sending them a letter.
“Submitting an oath goes against the very basis of my initial request and violates my personal beliefs,” Milioti wrote.
Greek Cypriots are typically asked to swear on the Bible when they make formal statements to municipal court authorities.
However, a written statement can be confirmed either by oath or affirmation, and there is no official requirement for putting one’s hand on the Bible.
“With this letter, I wish to inform the Nicosia District Administration of my request to have my religion removed from all official state records that refer to me personally by name. In other words, I want any mentions of my religious preferences scrapped,” she wrote, adding that she was attaching an affirmation statement.
Milioti’s record now says “Religious preferences: Undefined.”